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These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In South Dakota

We used science and data to determine which places in SD are the real pits.

Nick James, RoadSnacks (https://www.roadsnacks.net/about-us/)

August 6, 2015 - 138,161 views

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out.

#1 ­ Redfield

#10 #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6

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You people up there in South Dakota are a tough bunch. You know how to live off the land, many of you hunt, and
most of you have a gun. You have beautiful landscapes and, of course, one of the coolest national monuments in
the nation.
Plus, you’re way better than North Dakota.
Is it all rosy in SoDak? Of course not. Just like every other state, South Dakota has its least desirable spots. The
purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which places are the worst you could possibly live in if
you make South Dakota your home.
After analyzing 41 of the state’s most populous cities (over 2,000 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst
places to live in the state of South Dakota:
1. Red eld
2. Hot Springs
3. Flandreau
4. Winner
5. Rapid City
6. Watertown
7. Milbank
8. Huron
9. Madison
10. Custer
You’re probably thinking, “Is there actually a bad place to live in South Dakota?” Before you get all riled up, that’s not
the case. We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. We understand; in looking at the numbers, it’s clear that
most of the ‘worst’ places to live in South Dakota would be considered ‘good’ places in other states.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty, friendly people, and least number of North
Dakota transplants), there are far better options in South Dakota for making a place home.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared. Sioux Falls is somewhere in the
The best place to live in South Dakota? That would be Harrisburg. More on that later.

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How do you decide if a place has some real issues or not?

In order to rank the worst places to live in South Dakota, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike
about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, great weather, things to do and
a stable economy.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria, asked for the opposite of those, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

How we crunched the numbers

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data
8/table_8_offenses_known_to_law_enforcement_by_state_by_city_2013.xls/view), the government census
(https://fact nder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml), Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/)
and Sperling’s Best Places (https://www.bestplaces.net/), this is the criteria we used:
Population Density (The lower the worse – meaning there’s less to do for indoor entertainment)
Highest Unemployment Rates
Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
High Housing Vacancy Rate
Education (Low expenditures per student and high Student Teacher Ratio)
High Crime

  These Are The 10 Whitest Cities In South Dakota


If you’d like to see the complete list of cities, scroll to the bottom of this post to see a link to the entire data set.
Note: We originally ran the data and almost all of the top 10 were on Indian Reservations. As you can imagine, the
unemployment rates, income levels and crime were off the charts, so we re-ran the numbers to only include cities
outside of reservation lands.
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1. Red eld

Source: Google Maps

Population: 2,287
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Red eld is the worst place you can live (outside of a town on a
reservation) in the state of South Dakota. Let’s see why.
First of all, homes are priced according to demand, and frankly, there isn’t a lot of demand to live in Red eld, where
homes average $60,000 each. That’s the lowest in the state.
The unemployment rate in Red eld is 3.9%, which is the 7th highest in the state. That’s far lower than the national
average, but when you’re comparing cities within South Dakota to one another, it’s high. And the median income
levels in Red eld are $33,000, which are the 6th lowest household salaries in the state.
Plus, there’s the boredom factor. While most of the cities in South Dakota are pretty isolated from one another, some
are further away from the rest of society. Red eld residents have a 75-minute drive to Watertown for fun.

2. Hot Springs



Source: Google Maps

Population: 3,655
The unemployment rate in Hot Springs is actually the 2nd highest in South Dakota at 4.4%. Plus, the income levels
are also the 2nd lowest in the state. At $28,284, that’s not too far away from what the government considers the
poverty line.
A home in Hot Springs sells for $85,000. That’s the 5th lowest in the state.
On the bright side, the education, measured in terms of dollars per student, and student-teacher ratio, is much higher
On the bright side, the education, measured in terms of dollars per student, and student-teacher ratio, is much higher
than the state average.
Hot Springs is at the base of the Black Hills Mountains near the Wyoming state line.

3. Flandreau

Source: Google Maps

Population: 2,302
Crime is a factor in Flandreau’s ranking. Among cities over 2,000 (and excluding towns on Native American land),
Flandreau has the 3rd highest crime rate in South Dakota. Considering that it’s just outside of (but not within) an
Indian Reservation, you can understand why crime might be so high here.
People in South Dakota are used to not locking their doors. Not here.
The unemployment rate (4.1%) and home prices ($86,400) are also far below the state average.
Flandreau is located north of Sioux Falls.

4. Winner



Source: Google Maps

Population: 2,890
Depending on how you look at it, homeowners in Winner are either winners or losers. The cost of a home here is the
2nd lowest in South Dakota ($71,000). You can imagine why; its isolated near reservations in the middle of the state.

  These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In South Dakota


How far is Wall Drug and Corn Palace from Winner? Really, really far. Maybe they enjoy watching the buffalo roam,

5. Rapid City
Source: Google Maps

Population: 68,060
This will probably ratchet up the whole eastside/westside South Dakota rivalry a bit. But when you look at the data,
Rapid City is worse than Sioux Falls when it comes to the factors above.
First of all, Rapid City has the highest crime rate in the state for cities above 2,000 people. Every year, when you’re
within Rapid City limits, you have a 1 in 26 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s a lot of stolen
laptops, cell phones and hotdish.

Additionally, you have a 1 in 176 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in Rapid City. That means having your
life threatened, being raped or attacked.
In Sioux Falls, the numbers are 1 in 32 and 1 in 254. Not great, but a lot better.
In Rapid City, the unemployment rate is 4.1%, which is the 5th highest in the state. (Sioux Falls is 3.4%). Education
ranking is below the state average in Rapid City, and the students get the 3rd lowest funding levels in the state here.

6. Watertown

Source: Google Maps

Population: 21,524
Watertown has the 5th highest crime rate in South Dakota, where you have a 1 in 37 chance of being robbed every
year you’re here. Plus, there was a murder here in 2013.
Additionally, Watertown has the 7th worst education ranking when it comes to spending on the kids, and a 3.6%
unemployment rate.

7. Milbank
Source: Google Maps

Population: 3,352
Milbank is on Route 12 north of Watertown near the Minnesota state line. Here, it’s really hard to nd jobs, as a 4.4%
unemployment rate is the 2nd highest in South Dakota. Residents here earn far less than their South Dakota peers
when it comes to annual income levels.

Plus, homes are valued at $98,000, which is the 9th lowest valuation in the state. Maybe that’s a reason Milbank’s
population has shrunk nearly 9% in the last 10 years.

8. Huron



Source: Google Maps

Population: 12,563
Huron has the 4th lowest home values in the state ($81,800), which indicates little demand to live here. Additionally,
the student spending levels are some of the lowest you’ll nd in South Dakota. Crime is above average.
And, unless you enjoy shopping at Walmart, you have quite a drive into Sioux Falls for a little fun.

9. Madison

Source: Google Maps

Population: 6,575
Home of Dakota State University, Madison can be considered somewhat of a college town. Unfortunately for the
students who attend here, it has to be plain boring. It’s an hour drive into Sioux Falls.
students who attend here, it has to be plain boring. It’s an hour drive into Sioux Falls.
You can always spend time on one of two nearby lakes for part of the year. But, Madison residents earn some of the
lowest salaries in the state, meaning many might not be able to afford to buy a boat.

  These Are The 10 Most Conservative Cities In South Dakota


The schools spend the 2nd lowest amount on the kids who attend schools in the Madison area. In fact, it’s almost
half the national average.

10. Custer



Source: Google Maps

Population: 2,346
Sure, Custer is a pretty place. Tucked in the middle of the Black Hills Mountains south of Rapid City, the folks who
live there would probably defend it to their deaths. But science says it’s not very desirable, based on what people say
they ‘want’ in a community.
Custer residents earn the 4th lowest salaries and are the 4th least employed in South Dakota. Crime is above
average and home prices are below average. The schools are rated great, though.
So if you like living in the outdoors, and want smart kids, but can handle the fact that you won’t earn a decent living
and have to put up with more robberies than most of your SoDak peers, this might be the place for you.
There You Have It
If you’re looking at areas in South Dakota with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average
crime and low-rated schools, this is an accurate list.
Mobile users: Here’s a link to the complete data chart.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best places to live in South Dakota, according to science.
1. Harrisburg (4,152)
2. Colonial Pine Hills (Pop. 2,633)
3. Summerset (Pop. 2,104)
4. Tea (Pop. 3,874)
5. Blackhawk (Pop. 2,610)
If you’re interested, we also wrote a story on the worst states to live in that you might enjoy. Turns out South Dakota
is one of the best states in the nation. However, it looks like North Dakota is better. Click here to read it
Disclaimer: This article is an opinion based on data. It should not be taken as fact.

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26 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In South Dakota”

Emily says:
August 19, 2015 at 12:28 am (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-2465)

I lived in Red eld for quite some time, granted I was just a kid, but I was never bored, in the summer we would go to
Aberdeen to Storybook land which is only 40 miles north, and as to worst place I know a town in SD that is worst then
Red eld, at least Red eld knew what to do when it snows, I live in Wyoming now but our town is so dumm they don’t
even know how to remove snow right, but I have to agree on the job part that’s why we moved when my dad got a job
out here. So part of what you say is good but the other is so wrong.
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=2465#respond)

Nate says:
August 20, 2015 at 9:44 am (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-2543)

*dumb, not dumm…

Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=2543#respond)

Jill Callison says:

August 19, 2015 at 2:09 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-2497)

Casual racism: “Considering that it’s just outside of (but not within) an Indian Reservation, you can understand why
crime might be so high here.”

Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=2497#respond)

Nate says:
August 19, 2015 at 3:36 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-2506)

More like casual observation. Statistics are statistics. You don’t like it, go argue with math.
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=2506#respond)

Korinne says:
Korinne says:
August 19, 2015 at 2:35 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-2499)

I am surprised to see that milbank has the 2nd highest unemployment rate considering that I love there and any one of
my friends who wants/needs a job can easily get one. We may be high schoolers, but if we can get jobs adults can too.
Subway has had a help wanted sign for 3 months hanging out there door part time and full time. Caseys is also the
same way. And now we have a new Shopko that is hiring.
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=2499#respond)

CB says:
August 19, 2015 at 3:03 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-2501)

Red eld is home to South Dakota’s largest state run facility for adults and children with disabilities. Did you account for
thay in your statistics? There are countless job in opportunities in town. They have one of the states few drive in
theatres and are 40 miles from Aberdeen. Crime is nearly non existent. This article is poorly done.
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=2501#respond)

Bert Loehrer says:

August 19, 2015 at 9:44 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-2521)

I think my community is the worst town in the State of South Dakota. I do not know when the information was
gathered but the population was unreported by 30% and the unemployment rate is almost in the negative numbers
with the great amount of industry. As far as scales of friendliness and quality of life my home town is an island I hate
being stranded on. I happen to farm where my grandfather settled and appreciate the rich farmland but wish my town
would get some personality.
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=2521#respond)

Darla Wilson says:

August 20, 2015 at 7:30 am (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-2541)

Not racist are you??? Comments about reservations are uncalled for! Shame on you!
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=2541#respond)

Butch Knouse says:

September 29, 2015 at 12:50 am (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-4733)

The crimes rates are by far the highest on the reservations. A fact.
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=4733#respond)

Diane Akin says:

August 22, 2015 at 8:37 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-2649)

raising our daughter in Red eld was great! She could ride her bike all over town, hang out at the local pool, be active in
anything she wanted to do in school, take dance classes, go to the drive-in all summer. Yeh Red elds really a crappy
place to live. I think you should keep your opinions and data to yourself
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=2649#respond)

Bill Turck says:

August 23, 2015 at 3:32 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-2685)

I have relatives in Red eld, never lived there but we sure had fun going there for many years hunting. Met some great
people there and we still maintain those friendships. I miss going to Leo’s for breakfast every morning. Have many
great memories in Red eld
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=2685#respond)

Steve says:
August 23, 2015 at 5:32 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-2690)

44No place in the Black Hills should be on a “bad place to live list,” for one thing, and they in fact include two communities
in the Rapid City metro area as “best places to live.” For another, they assume that any community located on a
44reservation is going to be “even worse” than their bogus list. How racist is that? Also, Sioux Falls sucks, and it’s not on

the list.
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=2690#respond)

Q says:
September 26, 2015 at 10:40 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-4603)
Harrisburg is the best place to live?! Sure, the schools are nice (except for Liberty), but that’s all that the town has going
for it. The houses are crappy, and the town smells like crap because they store their sewage in ponds in town. No
sidewalks to get to the schools and pretty bad tra⧐�c in the morning by the high school.
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=4603#respond)

R says:
September 28, 2015 at 7:51 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-4718)

They forgot to mention how Madison residents have an incarnate hatred of fun and feel compelled to suppress fun any
time it rears its wee little head.
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=4718#respond)

Melissa says:
December 10, 2015 at 10:02 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-9994)

I would like to add the number 1 worst place to live is Fort Pierre,Sd. They have a live cow auction in themiddle of town.
They start their auctions at 7.15am on Saturday mornings. This can be heard all over town. Plus you can hear cows a
couple times a week at 2am in morning. The Live Stock Auction is allowed to make as much noise as they want. The
mayor nor the police will enforce anything. They think it’s great because it been here for 67 years. It brings down home
values. The town is not zoned right. There is also trash all over town. The land owners are jerks. They follow you on
public roads just because you look at a pheasant. Both Pierre and Fort Pierre don’t enforce dog laws. I lived in Custer
and it is a much better cleaner town.
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=9994#respond)

Johnny says:
January 15, 2017 at 1:08 am (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-28904)

Is rapid city a good place to live and get a job and schools OK ?
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=28904#respond)

Miles Bindert says:

January 27, 2017 at 12:16 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-29385)

Huron sucks ass, the worst schools. Also the students are gay and retarded. I fucking hate Huron because I get bullied
for being a weeb.
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=29385#respond)

Miles Bindert says:

January 27, 2017 at 12:17 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-29386)

By they way, I’m Miles Bindert, and I approve this message

Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=29386#respond)

Caleb Goglin says:

March 14, 2017 at 12:30 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-31229)

Caleb’s Piano
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=31229#respond)

Miles Bindert says:

March 14, 2017 at 12:46 pm (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-31231)

I jerk it to my animie body pillow once an hour


Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=31231#respond)

Alissa Ferguson says:

March 15, 2017 at 10:40 am (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-31300)

I dislike Huron because this one weirdo named Miles tried to nger me. What a faggot he is, ugh. Miles tries to rape my
friends such as Jasmine, Paytyn, and my mom. I hope he gets raped by a weeaboo role player named Kenneth. This is
why I dislike Huron.
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=31300#respond)

Kenneth Zieres says:

March 16, 2017 at 8:53 am (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-31347)

I roleplay with Miles, I am a sexual role player. This is why I like Huron the most because I can do gay role plays with
people. I also love Lillie.
people. I also love Lillie.
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=31347#respond)

Darren McDonald says:

March 16, 2017 at 8:54 am (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-31348)

I teed to resurrect the nazis but Huron won’t let me. Sieg Heil!
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=31348#respond)

Darren McDonald says:

March 16, 2017 at 8:55 am (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-31349)

Tried I meant
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=31349#respond)

Logan Weidner says:

March 16, 2017 at 10:34 am (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-31357)

Lolo or loogie. Justice is fake and gay. Huron sucks big furry testicles, this is why nobody likes Huron. Miles is also
super gay and sucks on big black horse cocks.
Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=31357#respond)

Leafyishere says:
March 16, 2017 at 10:47 am (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/#comment-31358)

This comment section is more cancerous then YouTube comments

Reply (https://www.roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-worst-places-to-live-in-south-dakota/?replytocom=31358#respond)

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